A Cough and a Wheeze…

Makes the whole world freeze!

These days at least. For those of us who are moms, the steady output of coughs, sneezes, phlegms is not a bother at all. Seeing how they are usually aimed our way or done by our loving offsprings who would probably have a tissue, a hanky in one hand, have another hand free and still not remember to cover their mouths while coughing or sneezing.

SNEEZE ONE MORE TIME I DARE YOU - Samuel L Jackson | Meme Generator

This is a frequent issue with TO. Even during the worst of the pandemic last year he’d sneeze and desperately looked around for a tissue despite there always being wipes readily available. Then when he thought I wasn’t watching, he’d quickly wipe his face off in the crook of his elbow…yech.

When he was younger, he would treat my clothes and my body as his living, breathing wipes. He’d walk by and wipes his hands off on my jeans or t-shirt and give me a cheeky grin as he dashed away.

These days he’s mighty put out by the paucity of hugs and cuddles that are coming his way since it’s being doled out by only one parent. And a bony one at that. I find him standing at the door to the room am isolating in and taping his feet at me and asking when I’m going to tell him I’m negative and it’s ok for him to smush his face into my rather squishy stature and feel like everything is alright with his world. Hopefully in another 30 hours or so he’ll have reason to be ecstatic or sulk like his world is out of whack!

Oh Corona…you have so much to answer for.

P.S: I wasn’t able to post this yesterday and today am happy to say that I *am* negative! TO got hugs and kisses and muscled in for Red’s share as well. It’s all status quo again. Praise the Galactic Ameba!

The Tale Of Five Tests

By the time the words Corona (the problem and not the beer), Covid had infiltrated our lives, I had hoped I would be able to avoid the situations which led to me having to take a test to see if I was positive or negative. And for a largely positive person (outlook in life-wise and not disease)I was looking forward to staying negative for a long, long time to come. But in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” And so I had reason to get tested. Not once, but multiple times as it would play out.

During the first test, I kept looking at best case scenarios which would be me testing positive and taking a 2 week holiday, all expense-paid, in the guest room and getting waited on hand and foot, without having to interact much with anyone. I would binge-watch, binge-read and just wait out the germs exiting my system. The worst case scenarios would have been my 80+ father-in-law getting it. He has co-morbidities, is a difficult patient with the most minor of issues and no one wanted him to have that over his head at his age.

Instead an 11-year old fidgety boy came up positive amongst all of us. He took it like a champ. Got everyone’s attention and basked in it for whatever it was worth. Was prayed over and showered more love and affection than he has been since he broke his hand a few years back. And Covid was dealt with in a manner so calm and efficient that it hardly seemed like a problem.

The second test was a necessary follow-up to the first test and when the results came, I whooped up so loudly both Red and TO came running out of their rooms to see what had happened. We did our own versions of “take that you nasty pathogen!” and went our merry ways.

The third test was necessary before I went in for a surgical procedure late last year and while I was fairly sure it would show me as non-reactive, my mind was already bracing for the intrusion of the excessively long swab burning through my nasal passage and making me gag. I needed only to gag because the nose was thankfully left alone and I was cleared for the surgery.

The fourth test came up recently when I traveled after a gap of almost a year and a half. The place I was landing in mandated a negative test report so I went through the rigmarole of the burning nose and retching to get the said report and I was nighty put out that no one checked or even mentioned it when I landed. All that swabbing up and down dark alleys in one’s body and all for nought.

Am getting tested again in an hour or so. I came back home and have what are now called “mild symptoms“. In a pre-Covid world, I would have been able to accurately put them down to a change in climate, exposure to the air conditioning in a cramped place or just a cold and let it ease itself out of my system. But in circa 2021, they are mild symptoms and need to be viewed with suspicion till forays through my body prove otherwise.

The world that we know has changed but not the people. Not much anyhow. We are still doing the things we want and are pretty comfortable with taking what we think are “acceptable risks”. You live with something unpleasant long enough and it stops being a Boogeyman and gets reduced to being an inconvenience.

A year ago having an occasion to have a test would have given me quite a bit of worry. Now it’s just a matter of temporarily moving into a room on my own for an enforced staycation vs. being free to move around and cough in public without being looked at as Typhoid Mary. And while I hope that this post doesn’t get added to with an anecdote of a sixth test, it is entirely a possibility and one that will be taken up with a weary “here we go again” +some kind of tongue-in-cheekness.

TO put it very succinctly before going to bed last night, “Be NE-GA-TIVE Ayu!”

I Get By With A Lil Help From My Apps

I’m a wee bit narcissistic. I like to look good although you couldn’t tell that from my perpetual “in sweatpants and loose tshirts” style but I do like to dress up.

Even more so, I like to have a clear complexion and a healthy glow that isn’t brought on by a cornucopia of make-up.

Sadly, the latter’s not been in my favor for a while and going to a derma doc to figure out why the face is becoming a ‘join-the-dots-page’ is also not on the horizon at this time.

The first time I used Snapchat it was purely on a lark and its utter airbrushed, emphasis-on-fair quality made me think that it would promote unreasonable notions of fairness and “prettiness” in the vulnerable, impressionable young people but damn my skin looked good!

Over time it’s become my go-to silly-time app. The filters are ridiculous and whether am sporting a beard, a hat or big bunny ears, it’s all good because the chuckle-factor is fairly high.

And we could all do with more chuckles in life especially during times of uncertainty, crisis and being at crossroads in our lives.

Cheers to Snapchat! May your filters multiply and may your tribe grow…naah..you have enough users..

Cabin Fever Blog#2

This morning started off as most mornings do these days…quietly. Spoke to the bestie who’s doing her own lockdown in a different continent and waited for the calm of the morning to be broken once TO got up. And it did.

Grumpy Morning GIFs | Tenor

Excuse the segue here but I fail to understand how people can say “bachchey bhagwaan ka roop hotey hain” aka children are form of the Divine. I may shuttle between being an agnostic and an atheist but even I know there’s no God in the history of Gods that like to commune with His/Her devotees while they’re in the loo! Or one who pouts when junk food is taken off the menu. OR one who keeps whining about the Netflix account being unavailable. Or one who has to be put on a timeout for being a pain in the posterior. None of that smacks of being omniscient or omnipotent!

Be as that may, this is how my day’s been so far: started on dishes a bit early in the day so there wouldn’t be too many of them after making lunch. I’d have been done half an hour earlier than I did only because there was a persistent tap on my shoulder every few minutes to ask what a small hooman should be doing right then.

BUSY MOM MEMES image memes at relatably.com

First I sent him to make the beds. He did. After being told 5xs. Then he wanted me to come a see something weird he found in one of the bathrooms. It wasn’t weird at all. But he still called me. Then I asked him to sort the laundry. He did. By dumping stuff from all the hampers in the middle of the dining room. When I asked him to S-O-R-T it out. He just made three different piles, again in the middle of the room. Right where we’d walk from.

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His response to my, “Did you think I wanted you to dump everything in the middle of the floor?” was, “You didn’t want me to dump it all on the floor?” Because hey! that’s the reply that makes the most sense. And to do it all when I have a knife in my hand is just pushing buttons that ought *never* be pushed.

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Final snark from me before I stomped away to do the laundry was a disdainful look at the avoiding-my-eyes-husband and saying, “And you wanted TWO kids! Hmphff!!”


Songs For Social Distancing…

Hey if I could come up with a list of songs which go against social distancing, I can surely find a few which are all about it as well.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Again, no order or preference to them. Just the ones which popped in my mind-

1. Run Snow Patrol

2.Hit The Road Jack– Ray Charles

3. Alone– Heart

4. Wake Me Up When September Ends-Green Day

5. All By Myself– Eric Carmen

6. Away From The Sun- 3 Doors Down

7. Only The Lonely– Roy Orbison

8. Where the hell are my friends- LANY

9. Tea For One– Led Zeppelin

10. Lonely-Akon

And the clear winner with lyrics that actually state, “Run away, Run away, run away and save your life.
Run away, run away, run away if you want to survive.“…Real McCoy with Run Away!

The Non-Social Distancing Playlist

I play music when I head for my bath. And it’s usually a shuffled playlist so things stay interesting. Music Musical Notes GIF - Music MusicalNotes MusicIsLife GIFs

In any case, the playlist chose Springsteen’s Human Touch and while I love that song, I laughed to myself thinking that it was so, so not right during the time of social distancing and shelter in place. And because I am thoroughly bummed out by the state of the world right now, I thought why not come up with atleast ten songs that totally go against the need of the hour aka staying in isolation, indoors and basically away from the rest of the world.

Here they are in no particular order!

  1. Human Touch– Bruce Springsteen
  2. Come On Over– Christina Aguilera
  3. Hug Me– Pharrell Williams
  4. I Drove All Night– Roy Orbison
  5. Close To You– Maxi Priest
  6. Baby Come To Me– Patti Austin&James Ingram
  7. With Arms Wide Open– Creed
  8. I Want To Break Free-Queen
  9. Come Together– Beatles
  10. Come As You Are– Nirvana

Headbanging GIFs | Tenor

Keeping The Glass Half-Full

Just got to know a little while ago our usual milk vendor won’t be supplying milk for some more time to come.Milk GIF - Find on GIFER

And while this isn’t a crisis per se, it’s inconvenient. And that in a nutshell is how trying times are for people of a particular socio-economic group. Inconvenient more than actually critical. Unless it gets to hell-in-a-handbasket stage.

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I am at home. With all my physical comforts except that my dishpan hands are getting more solidified day by day. But it’s a small price to pay in the long run. It’s not like I give massages for a living and need butter-soft hands.

I have slightly flat feet so my arches have been hurting from standing for too long and doing dishes. So I’ll be wearing my sneakers and doing them from today. Again, problem identified and a workaround identified as well. Definitely not a hardship.

What is getting to be a hardship is not knowing how things will shape up in the days to come. Let’s face it, we’re on a daily wait and watch. Weeks and months are a luxury we can’t afford to indulge in while planning for tomorrow.

TO and Red have been playing cricket at home for a few weeks now to limit the outside exposure and I think my ironing board and the unfortunate iron ended up being the boundary line one too many times. Outcome? Iron just won’t iron. Workaround? Fished out an old iron which had some kinks in it but at this time seems to be heating up, or so the little red light tells me, and we’ll take it for a spin a bit.

Peace GIFs | Tenor

So for everything that seems like a “problem” I’m deciding to call a “blip” instead. The way we look at things makes a huge difference in how to react to it and everything else that follows. Btw, running out of coffee? Now that would be a PROBLEM.


Stay safe. Try to stay cheery. It’s not that tough. Have a few laughs. Watch old home movies of your kid. Reminisce with the spouse about the way things were and before you know it, you’re somewhat ( if not a lot) diverted from the non-fun Corona.

Note: For the uninitiated, the fun Corona comes in a bottle.

Corona Beer GIFs | Tenor

I Get By With A Little Help From…

Music. Pretty much of all types but I have particular songs earmarked for particular situations or moods rather. There’s a specific song for decompressing. The main reason this song became the anthem for situations where the walls seem to be closing in is because of its lyrics. It’s beyond ridiculous. Utterly ludicrous. And that’s the beauty of it. When situations make you go WTF in caps, bold, underlined with an army of exclamations and question marks after it, a song without a head or tail can make you do a double take and go, “Dang…that’s so weird it’s actually good!”

I also get by with the help of movies. The more senseless the better. See the theme running through this post? I have a few I fall back on- Sharknado, White Girls and a few which aren’t senseless but just good clean fun and laughs like Padosan and Naram Garam and their ilk.

A good friend sitting in a virus hotspot just pinged and told me about tsunamis and earthquakes on top of the lovely days the world has been experiencing. So, find your rhythm and groove. No matter how weird. We could all do with a bit more weird. Feeling bright and shiny is a bit overrated IMHO, weird is the way to go!

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Cabin Fever Blog#1

So tedium is finally settling in. A lack of a sense of urgency is hard to fight against consistently. Whether it’s shoving TO into his school bus or waving Red off at the door, there’s a sense of things being time bound. And now, there isn’t. For a lot of things

I think the part that of life that people genuinely have trouble processing is ‘what next‘. When you don’t have a clear cut path ahead but still have options, the process of what-nexting becomes a bit easier. When you have the mundane facing off with the exciting, it helps to sort through things and decide what can be done and when.

When it’s all mundane, all essential and the tenor of your day isn’t punctuated by much except occasional blips of emotion etc, things just seem to stretch out longer and longer and it’s a bit disconcerting to be honest.

This soup bowl has been in my family as long as I can remember. I think my mother bought it sometime in 1990. Went through the flu, chicken pox and a few other sick days and many non-sick days cradling it in my hands while I blew on hot soup to get me through something. Not always a tough time…just something. Today it’s a sign of familiarity, my folks and overall family. It’s not sensible to be attached to objects and especially those which can get chipped or cracked very easily but when something has survived international and domestic house changes across the decades, it feels pretty damn sure that it’s here for the long haul. And that’s terribly reassuring at times like these.

A Few Learnings

While it is witty and even pithy to start a blog post with a title like ‘Love In The Time Of Corona’ as a take off on the famous novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is also a time of a bit of reflection even if done intermittently.

Full disclosure though- I did not read the novel. Am unlikely to pick it up anytime soon. The last big fat novel I read was LOTR and that was because the guy I liked at the time gave it to me and said, “Read it! It has tons of stuff you’ll like!” Since he gave me my first Harry Potter book and started a life-long connect with the character, I thought it would be a safe bet to go with his reco. Umm…yes and no. I *did* enjoy reading LOTR but enjoyed the movies way more and Golum is permanently etched on my brain cells and so are the memes about “precious”. So yeah, some takeaways do last long.

Getting back to the matter at hand- few things bring us together or expose our foibles like adversity. While certain people prove that they are inherently troopers and will always rise to the occasion and get stuff done, others show that they are vapid and generally have not much to contribute barring churning the mud like bottom-feeders and just cloud things up. And in case this sounds like a serious indictment on people, it is!

There’s plenty wrong to be wrought at times of adversity by sharing information at the wrong time, at the wrong way and for the wrong reasons. Here are a few things that have been becoming clearer to me as time goes by:

  • Who you’re with during times of crises help you understand who the people are you want around for keeps.
  • Family bonding, even under forced situations, is an opportunity to teach our kids about life, how to roll with unexpected changes and also how to ask for help.
  • What is enough- this cannot be stressed upon too much. On a daily basis, the things I indulge in, can be pared down to the bare minimum that I decide I can survive on happily instead of the sheer quantity that we choose to surround ourselves with.
  • The intrinsic value that we place on objects, activities that shape our lives- daily and in the long run.
  • Communication and that too the proactive and genuine kinds, has taken a backseat to the prepackaged, mass-targeted messages we circulate in the name of “being in touch”.
  • A helping hand doesn’t take too long to extend and neither does it cost anything but can exponentially add to the feeling of ” I did my part”.
  • Learning to prioritise is a skill that needs to be learnt and relearnt throughout our lives and we kind of let it lapse by doing mainly the things which seem urgent/important majority of the times.
  • Gratitude cannot be taken too light. Ever. I’m not talking about the kinds which makes you drop on your knees and start believing in the Galactic Ameba but the kind that truly makes you value yourself and your life. It does help put the shitty stuff in perspective.

So, while it may not be “love” in the time of Corona, it’s definitely been learning and a realisation that some things truly help the world turn- I’m of course referring to the Almighty Coffee Bean! What?!! did you think I could let a whole somber post go by and not revert to some levity? Pshaw!

Stay safe, keep the loved ones close and but not enough that you cough and sneeze on them. Just enough that when you reach out, there they are.